FORT WORTH, Texas – Mauricio Moreira hasn’t forgotten his disappointment last year when he felt he was on his way to his first PBR World Finals round-winning belt buckle.
Moreira had ridden County Jail for 92.25 points during Round 4 of the Finals in Las Vegas, and all signs pointed to a marquee career moment for the rising Brazilian superstar. Instead, Moreira’s good friend Jose Vitor Leme went on to ride WSM’s Jive Turkey 92.5 points.
Flash forward six months later, and Moreira is finally getting his long-desired World Finals round win buckle after riding none other than WSM’s Jive Turkey for 94.25 points to win Round 2 of the PBR World Finals Saturday night at Dickies Arena.
“I come here today, I say, ‘I need to do this job, and maybe I can win the round,’” Moreira said. “I see the guys scoring good rides – all of them made 90s today. But I do a good job. Last year in Vegas, Jose got a round win on Jive Turkey, and I feel mad because I ride good, too. So today, I knew I should be there.”
Moreira’s ride was the best among seven 90-point rides during the electrifying second round of competition in Fort Worth, Texas. It is the most 90-point rides in a PBR World Finals round since there were 10 in Round 7 of the 2008 World Finals.
90-plus rides in Round 2
Mauricio Moreira: 94.25 points on WSM’s Jive Turkey
Daylon Swearingen: 93 points on Big Black
Josh Frost: 92.75 points on Ridin Solo
Kaique Pacheco: 91.75 points on Bread Basket
Luciano de Castro: 91.25 points on Montana Jacket
Jose Vitor Leme: 90.25 points on Lone Survivor
Cody Jesus: 90.25 points on I’m Legit Too
Moreira earned 89 world points with the round victory to move up one spot in the world standings to No. 4. His seven 90-point rides this season is tied with Daylon Swearingen for the second-most in the PBR.
Moreira will head into Round 3 on Sunday (3 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network) 255 points behind world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira, who is 2-for-2 at the Finals following an 86-point ride on Diddy Wa Diddy. Vieira and No. 5 Leme are the only two riders in the Top 5 who have begun the World Finals 2-for-2. Meanwhile, No. 2 Swearingen, No. 3 Kaique Pacheco and No. 4 Moreira all now have one qualified ride on the board after making 90-point rides on Saturday night.
Moreira could make another move up the rankings with a possible highlight-reel matchup against Sky Harbor (43-12, UTB) in Round 3. Sky Harbor has bucked off 16 consecutive riders on the premier series, including Moreira in 3.39 seconds this past February in Oklahoma City.
RELATED: Round 3 daysheet
Even though Moreira is still very much in contention for the 2022 World Championship, he openly talked about his desire to see Vieira win his first gold buckle at 37 years old.
“If JRV’s the world champ, I will be so happy because I try too, but I can say, ‘Hey, I ride with JRV when he be a champion, and I can be a champion another year too,’” Moreira said.
Moreira missed the final month of the regular season because of his ongoing hip injury dating back to last season.
The 22-year-old was originally going to get surgery this past November following the World Finals after finishing No. 5 in the 2021 world standings but instead opted to delay the procedure. At first, the decision seemed wise as Moreira overcame a slow start to 2022 to rise to No. 2 in the world with his second win of the season (Glendale, Arizona). He has since ridden only 3-for-14 as his injury had gotten so bad that he could not walk out of the arena under his own power.
However, Moreira’s ride on Saturday night is an example of how extremely talented he is and how he could still be an underdog threat in this year’s world title race.
If Moreira could piece together a few more qualified rides at the World Finals, it may go a long way to help increase his stock for the 2022 PBR Team Series Draft, presented by ZipRecruiter, on May 23 at Texas Live! A healthy Moreira will easily be a first-round draft pick.
“I think when I take those two events off, everybody forgot me,” Moreira said. “But I just want to prove by riding my bulls, not by talking, and that’s how I do it.
“Maybe now the coaches will say, ‘I want to see this guy!”
Article Courtesy of PBR
Photo courtesy of Bull Stock Media